At the heart of effective leadership skills in the workplace is encouraging open communication between management and employees. There are four primary strategies that can be employed in order to encourage and enhance open communication between management and employees.
Create a Transparent Workplace
Management sets the tone when it comes to open communication in the workplace. A recurring error made by management is failing to share information within a business organization.
Hoarding information on the management side of the fence has consequences. Employees will be suspicious of their business’ leadership team. Employees will feel like they are being inappropriately left in the dark. In the grand scheme of things, when a business culture is opaque, employees will not be motivated to engage in open communication.
Eliminate an Us Versus Them Mentality
Within a majority of businesses, there exists a natural tendency towards what might best be called an us versus them mentality. Management is on one team, employees on the other. In such an environment, both employees and management develop an use versus them mentality.
When a business culture is infused with us versus them thinking, open communication simply is not the norm. Indeed, a “team” member very well may feel like he or she is violating the confidence of his or her own cohort, be it management of employees, if an attempt to speak openly is undertaken.
The primary objective in eliminating an us versus them mentality in a business enterprise is employing strategies that build firm connections across the perceived management and employee divide. These tactics include open workspace layouts, collaborative projects, management and employee outings and activities, and even retreats that include both management and employees.
Establish Shared Milestones and Goals
One way in which more than a few businesses stumble when it comes to fostering an environment of open communication is in the development of goals and milestones. A common practice is for management and employees to have their own, even mutually exclusive sets of milestones and goals.
Open communication can be developed, and fostered, when management and employees share common milestones and objectives. Certainly, there will always be some goals that are more a function of management or employees. But, even those objectives can be interconnected to broader milestones and goals shared by both management and employees.
Management and employees alike should develop protocols and practices in which questions are welcome and encouraged. When it comes to questions, members of a businesses broader team should be trained in how to put forth specific, meaningful questions, rather than just throwaway rhetorical queries.
When questions are raised, they need to be treated seriously. They needed to be provided an appropriate response, whether posed to a member of management or to an employee of the enterprise.
In addition to seriously consider employing, and maintaining, these four strategies to foster open communication within a business enterprise, consideration should be given to taking advantage of outside resources to assist in advancing open communication within a business. In this day and age, there are communication specialists, including those with a focus on organization communication, that can be invaluable resources to a business enterprise.
These professionals can provide management with ideas on how to establish a culture of open communication within a business. In addition, oftentimes these communication specialists are available to provide training to management and employees of a particular business.
A company in-service represents a solid type of endeavor at which open communication principles can be introduced, explained, and discussed by those in attendance. This type of setting permits a good method of opening up communication within a business, by discussing the vital importance of open communication itself.